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Udzungwa Mountains National Park

The Udzungwa Mountains National Park, which is found in the Southern Tourism Circuit of Tanzania, is the second largest biodiversity park in Africa. It is located largely in Kilolo District of Iringa Region and partly in the Kilombero District of Morogoro Region.

It is famous for its unique flora as well as fauna such as the rare primates. There are five documented species of primates that are endemic to Udzungwa National Park.

The name Udzungwa comes from the Hehe tribe word, ‘Wadsungwa’, which means people who live by the mountain sides.

This wildlife sanctuary was declared a national park in 1992 by the founder of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), prince Bernhard, of the Netherlands.

In terms of size of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park is 1,990 sq km (770 sq mi) and is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains.

Situated in Tanzania and Kenya, the Eastern Arc Mountains are a chain of mountains which are the oldest mountain range in East Africa. They form a roughly crescent or arc shape.

The Udzungwa Mountains National Park has a variety of landscapes. Its rolling hills provide awe inspiring views. This wildlife sanctuary also has various habitats.


Kilolo District (Iringa Region) and Kilombero District (Morogoro Region)


By road from Dar es Salaam or by chartered flights landing at Mikumi Airstrip. There are also scheduled or chartered flights from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar to Udzungwa or Kilombero.

Nearest City/ Town



Accommodation options are comparatively limited within the park; however, camping facilities are available.

There are no lodges within the park’s borders, but a number of them exist in the nearby towns.

Best time to Visit

June- October during the dry season.

In this period, June to October, hiking trails in Udzungwa Mountains National Park are more accessible and wildlife is easier to spot. This makes the dry season an ideal period to visit this park.

However, the rainy season has its merits too.  The greenery of the scenery is captivating and migratory birds come to the park during the rainy season. Crowds are fewer and prices are also comparatively lower.

The Wildlife of Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Although this wildlife sanctuary is famous for being home to rare primates, it also boasts of huge numbers of other animals.

It is a sanctuary for animals such as buffaloes, bushbucks, duikers, elephants, hunting dogs and leopards, among others.

Six species of primates, which include the Sanje crested mangabey, the Iringa red colobus and the Udzungwa red colobus, are endemic to only the Udzungwa National Park. They are not found anywhere else.

The Birds of Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa Mountain National Park is also a sanctuary for a wide variety of bird species. There are more than 400 species, some of them being the African marabou, crowned eagle, trumpeter hornbill, Kilombero weaver, Rufous winged sunbird, and palm nut vulture. Both the Livingstone’s flycatcher and the Livingstone’s turaco, the Uluguru violet backed sunbird and the white tailed cisticola, can also be spotted in this national park.

Some of the bird species are endemic to the eastern arc while others are predominantly found in the forest.

The Vegetation of Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa Mountains National Park boasts of 2500 different plant species, and out of these, 625 are endemic to the park.

The vegetation of this sanctuary is quite varied and adds to its beauty. It comprises of grasslands, miombo woodlands, mountain forests, as well as tropical rainforests. These types of vegetation provide the perfect habitats for a number of wild animals.

Flowering plants in their due season flamboyantly adorn the landscape creating captivating sceneries.

There are some plant species that are found nowhere else apart from Udzungwa National Park.

Activities in Udzungwa Mountains National Park

There are a number of activities that visitors can get involved in during the tour of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. The park is a great destination for both the adventure seeker and the nature lover. Some of the notable activities include the following.

Eastern Arc Mountain Hiking

As it is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, hiking up these high elevations is an adventurous activity that visitors can undertake.  The Eastern Arc Mountains hiking provides spectacular views, especially from the Luhombero Peak which is the highest.

Waterfalls Trekking

Boasting of some waterfalls such as the Njokamoni, Sanje, Sonjo, and Prince Bernhard’s, surely waterfalls trekking becomes an attractive activity in a place endowed with such falling waters.

Undoubtedly, the most popular trail in the Udzungwa National Park, the Sanje Waterfalls trek takes about 4 hours. It offers stunning sceneries and visitors can enjoy a swim in the plunge pools of the waterfalls.

The Sonjo Waterfalls trail is a good hiking trail, although it is short and not steep. The trek to the waterfall takes slightly over half an hour and winds through the rainforest giving trekkers a chance to spot some birds, plants and primates.

Prince Bernhard’s Waterfalls, named after prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, is also an interesting sight. The prince was 84 years old when he opened the national park.

This waterfalls trail is also a short one and is close to the park headquarters.

The Njokamoni Waterfalls trail, which is comparably less used, is similar to that of the Sanje Waterfalls in terms of length and elevation. As a result of being less used, this trail provides more chances of spotting the primates.


Birdwatching is another activity that makes a visit to the Udzungwa Mountains National Park an exciting and memorable experience. With over 400 bird species, this park indeed is one of the top destinations for birdwatching in Tanzania.

Cultural Visits

Cultural visits to nearby communities are an opportunity for tourists to have an insight into the cultural heritage of the local people.

Guided Tours

Guided tours present guests with an opportunity to learn about the conservation efforts in the park and help in having an intimate encounter with nature.

Knowledgeable guides add value to the Udzungwa National Park tour.


Sightseeing of the stunning landscapes and game viewing of rare wildlife and unique flora is an experience that leaves a lasting memory of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park.

This park offers a lot of eye-catching sights.


Camping activities are available in Udzungwa Mountains National Park.  There are a number of camps that offers camping services.

Visitors may also opt to make their own camping arrangements as guided by park authorities.


Cycling is also another activity that can be undertaken in this national park. This activity does not only add to the adventure of the visit to the park, but it is also a good way of exercising and keeping fit.

It is an awesome experience to explore the beauty of this park on the bicycle.

Bicycles can be hired from Hondo Hondo or Udzungwa Forest Camp.


Are you an adventure seeker or nature lover?
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